Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born February 7, 1867 in the Big Woods of Wisconsin.  As a part of a pioneer family, she moved several times in her life, living in Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. She and her family suffered many hardships over the years. Laura always dreamed of becoming a teacher and of writing about her childhood. Today we’ll look at Laura Ingalls Wilder biography and her contribution to literature.

Her writing style is very engaging and easily holds the attention of children. She lead a very adventurous life that your children will enjoy learning about.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography

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The life of Laura Ingalls Wilder is so different than the life our children know. What my own children found unbelievable is that what their own grandparents were children Laura Ingalls Wilder was alive. Knowing that really helped my kids understand how much and how quickly the world has changed.

At the young age of 15, she not only earned her teaching certificate, but she also got married to Almanzo Wilder. Just like her family, they too lived as pioneers and lived in both South Dakota and Minnesota suffering much. They eventually settled on a farm in Missouri called Rocky Ridge. This is where Laura began to write and edited the Missouri Ruralist.

Laura wrote her autobiography and called it Pioneer Girl, but was unable to find a publisher for it, so she rewrote it and renamed it Little House in the Big Woods, this was published in 1932 when she was 65 years old. It became a success and she continued writing finishing an 18-volume set called the Little House Series in 1943.

Learning With Laura Ingalls Wilder

Here are 3 activities that you can do with you child to teach them about Laura. The activities include cooking, pioneer play and a writing activity.

We have been reading her literature at our house for quite some time.  We started with the Little House Chapter Books. These are books taken from parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s collection of novels and are rewritten for younger children. It was a great introduction to her works.

The Little House Books Boxed SetThe Little House Books Boxed Set Once my daughter reached the end of first grade we started reading the full set of novels starting with Little House in the Big Woods.

By the time second grade started she was fully enthralled by the books and flying through them herself. They truly are inspiring stories that are written with great visual detail. They are a wonderful way to share a little history with your child.

Have fun with the following activities inspired by the pioneer life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

1. Pioneer Recipes

Try these pioneer style recipes with your children and talk about what it was like to live off the land.

Pioneers such as those who lived during the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder had to totally rely on what they could grow, hunt and build themselves. They were completely self-reliant even in their cooking.

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Nevertheless, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many others shared some wonderful recipes with their families.  Some of these included the following favorites:

Johnny Cakes

Supplies:

  • corn meal (1 cup )
  • raw sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • salt (1 tablespoon)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 lb. of turkey bacon

Instructions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add the water, until mixed thoroughly, then form patties and set aside.
  3. Fry the bacon in a frying pan and set aside.
  4. Use the bacon grease to fry the patties.
  5. Set the patties aside to allow grease to drain off of them.
  6. Enjoy!

Vinegar Pie Recipe

Supplies:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 heaping tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 6 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

Instructions:

  1. Using a saucepan pour in the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients, reserving the egg yolks.
  3. Cook until thick.
  4. Pour the mixture into an already baked 9-inch pie shell.

For Meringue:

  1. Whip reserved egg whites and sugar until stiff.
  2. Pour over pie.

Lightly brown the meringue.

2. Laura Becomes Mary’s Eyes

Laura Ingalls Wilder had a great love for her sister, Mary Ingalls. In 1879, fever struck Mary and robbed her of her sight. She was only 14, but as Laura writes in much of her literature, her Pa requested that she become Mary’s eyes. Laura needed to describe everything to Mary so that she could “see” what Laura and everyone else was seeing. Mary once said of Laura, “You make pictures when you talk”. This is why Laura’s literature was so meaningful and enjoyable to read.

Have your child think about what it would be like to have to describe everything to someone else who could not see it. Help them to understand what amount of detail they must go to in order to truly allow others to “see” what they see, when they cannot.

In order to have your child truly understand what it would be like to have to describe something to someone who is not seeing what they see, or a  in order for them to understand an item completely do the following activity with your child.

  1. Arrange a few household items on a tray. Some suggestions might be: a fork, a shoe, a book, a piece of fruit, a candle, and a quarter.
  2. Blindfold or have one child close their eyes while you or a sibling describes one of the items to your child. Take turns being the blindfolded person and the one who describes.
  3. Talk with your child about how difficult this task was to complete.

Doing this activity will give your child a greater understanding of what it would be like to be blind as well as what it would be like to be someone who helps a blind person. It will also help your child develop their ability to create very visual stories.

3. Child’s Play as a Pioneer

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Pioneer children such as Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sister Mary grew up traveling often. As the pioneers moved they were not able to bring a lot with them, not even toys. Children during those days had to create their own ways to entertain themselves.  One of the things that the children of that time enjoyed doing was to go out and discover or explore their new surroundings.

You can do this with your child as a fun activity. Take them for a walk in a new area or go to a place that they have never been before. Have them walk around and explore this area, preferably allowing this to be an area with lots of natural surroundings, where they can explore and examine the plants, the animals, insects and other things in the area that they might not have seen before.

This activity might be especially good for times when you too as a family travel. Maybe stop at a state or national park and explore the nature trails. Use these times to teach your child.

I hope you enjoyed this quick Laura Ingalls Wilder biography.

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